Wednesday 21 May 2014

Alan Davies loses knighthood as Copland strike for 8th time

Making the point about privatisation and appropriation of public money

 Sir Alan Davies, former headteacher of Copland Community School, was stripped of his knighthood today in a belated response to his involvement in a financial scandal. Also today Copland teachers held their 8th strike over redendancies and academisation.

From the Brent branch of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers:

The disgraced former headteacher of Copland Community school in Wembley has been stripped of his knighthood. Alan Davies had been found guilty of false accounting at Southwark Crown Court in October last year. He pleaded guilty, although at the very last minute, to six counts of false accounting, and was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment suspended for two years.

Before the trial proper commenced a deal was proposed by the defence. Keir Starmer, former Head of the Crown Prosecution Service was involved and a deal was struck.Sir Alan agreed to plead guilty to 6 of the eight charges – the six least serious, false accounting – in return for the two most serious - conspiracy to defraud and money laundering - being dropped. Davies was not cleared of the charges of conspiracy and
money laundering as the case regarding these allegations was not heard as part of theplea bargain deal so the charges were dropped.

Hank Roberts, the whistleblower who exposed the bonus payments and other irregularities through a detailed dossier, had led calls for Davies to be stripped of his knighthood following his conviction and had written to the Prime Ministers office asking the Forfeitures Committee to take action. A spokesman for the Cabinet’s Office confirmed that Davies has had his knighthood annulled.

Hank said: “This is brilliant news. At least there is some justice in the world even though getting him to court and getting to this stage has taken a very long time. Every day it seems there is another financial scandal involving our schools. Something is radically wrong and I believe it is connected with the break-up of the state education system and allowing greater controls to individual heads and governing bodies. I know that not just myself but an overwhelming majority of staff, parents and pupils will be glad this action has been taken.”

Davies, who was knighted for his services to education in 2000, was tried alongside Dr Richard Evans, 55, former deputy head, Dr Indravadan Patel, 73, ex-chair of governors, Columbus Udokoro, 62, former school bursar, Michelle McKenzie, 53, ex-HR manager and Martin Day, 58, former-vice chair of governors. As part of the plea bargain agreed the charges against them were dropped.

As reported at the time of the court case, when sentencing Davies, Judge Deborah Taylor said: “Your dishonest behaviour represents a fall from grace. You have failed in your duty as head of the school – in failing to ensure proper, transparent management, and, more importantly, you lied about it and resorted to dishonest fabrication. What sort of message did that send to the children?”
Meanwhile ARK headquarters in Kingsway, Holborn in central London was the target of a protest
by a group of teachers from Copland Community school in Brent protesting about ARK’s proposal to take over their school. They were taking strike action over propose compulsory redundancies that have been totally unnecessary. ARK continues to cut as many of the current staff as possible before September while hiring two new extra assistant headteachers and one deputy headteacher. This is even before any funding agreement has been signed.

Two of the protesters dressed as fat cat spivs and in a lively exchange explained why they, as hedge-fund speculators, (ARK is run by hedge-fund managers) would want to run schools. The answer from the protesters was to make even more “loadsa money” from their state schools take over. Hank Roberts, ATL Immediate Past President made the clear argument for state education and against privatisation despite being ‘harangued’ by one of the fat cats. Passers by were clearly entertained by this spectacle and interested in the message.

Earlier there had been a joint ATL, NASUWT and NUT picket at the school in Wembley which was addressed among others by the NASUWT National President Geoff Branner. He praised staff for their support, commitment and resolve. This was Copland staff’s eight strike in total, six against being forced to become an academy and  two against the proposed compulsory redundancies.


Anonymous said...

Co-incidental day before election knighthood stripped.

Powers that be, want us to think Copland file is now closed with this display of "spin"

He should have lost it years ago.

Anonymous said...

It would be very interesting to cross reference those charged with previous work contact with Davani and Gilbert.

I bet you might find some previous work cross overs and is why charges against the co accused were eventually drop as other previous fraud might surface.

Anonymous said...

God Save The Queen! Apart from the Copland teachers themselves, she seems to be the only one who's done anything about this in the last 5 years. ( And incidentally, 2 of the teachers who did their bit to clean up a part of Brent and British public life are now under threat of forced redundancy by Ark/IEB). The chair of governors, I.P.Patel, was himself in on the original con . Brent Council, some of whom had enjoyed Patel's 'hospitality' in the past, did nothing at the time and only acted after Copland teachers put themselves in a vulnerable position by taking action against their employer (sound familiar in these Davani days, Mr Butt?). Ed Balls famously 'saw nothing wrong' with illegal payments. Ofsted thought the place was well-managed (!). The legal system took 4 years to bring Davies , Patel, Evans and the others to trial, then did a dodgy little deal for reasons we can only 'guess' at (and most of us have).
Given the Queen's unique effectiveness in the whole dreary affair (apart, of course, from the original misdirected dubbing), couldn't she now be tasked with retrieving the £2.6 million the Copland gang pocketed? And after that she could try to get the Mary Fedden paintings (some of which are still apparently in the hands of Brent Council) returned to their proper owner. I'm sure the Queen would do a much better job than anyone else has managed so far and it sounds much more interesting than shaking hands with corgis and listening to Philip's UKIP propaganda all day.

Anonymous said...

Bet shredder working overtime at the minute any remaining documents

Anonymous said...

Have a look in the shipping container nearest the gate by the Cecil Avenue entrance, Your Highness. And if you don't mind scrabbling around in the bushes, ma'am, there might still be some bits and pieces lying around which they dropped when they carried them down from the main entrance.

Anonymous said...

Davies was ahead of his time. This guy in Stockwell's a crook but he still pays himself £230,000 pa 'legitimately'.